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Processes » Certain Special Processes » Matrimonial Processes » Process for the dispensation of a marriage ratum et non consummatum
Canon 1697. Only the spouses, or one of them even if the other is unwilling, have the right to petition for the favor of a dispensation from a marriage *ratum et non consummatum*.
Canon 1698. §1. Only the Apostolic See adjudicates the fact of the non-consummation of a marriage and the existence of a just cause to grant a dispensation.

§2. Only the Roman Pontiff, however, grants the dispensation.
Canon 1699. §1. The person competent to accept a libellus seeking a dispensation is the diocesan bishop of the domicile or quasi-domicile of the petitioner, who must arrange for the instruction of the process if the petition is well founded.

§2. If the proposed case has special difficulties of the juridical or moral order, however, the diocesan bishop is to consult the Apostolic See.

§3. Recourse to the Apostolic See is available against a decree by which a bishop rejects a libellus.
Canon 1700. §1. Without prejudice to the prescript of can. 1681, the bishop is to entrust the instruction of these processes either in a stable manner or in individual cases to his tribunal, that of another diocese, or a suitable priest.

§2. If a judicial petition to declare the nullity of the same marriage has been introduced, however, the instruction is to be entrusted to the same tribunal.
Canon 1701. §1. The defender of the bond must always intervene in these processes.

§2. A legal representative is not admitted, but because of the difficulty of a case, a bishop can permit the petitioner or the respondent to have the assistance of a legal expert.
Canon 1702. In the instruction each spouse is to be heard, and the canons on the collection of proofs in the ordinary contentious trial and in cases of the nullity of marriage are to be observed insofar as possible, provided that they can be reconciled with the character of these processes.
Canon 1703. §1. There is no publication of the acts. If the judge perceives that the proofs brought forward seriously hinder the request of the petitioner or the exception of the respondent, however, he is prudently to inform the interested party.

§2. The judge can show a document introduced or a testimony received to a party who requests it and set a time to present observations.
Canon 1704. §1. When the instruction has been completed, the instructor is to give all the acts along with a suitable report to the bishop, who is to prepare a votum on the veracity of the fact of the non-consummation, the just cause for the dispensation, and the suitability of the favor.

§2. If the instruction of the process has been entrusted to another tribunal according to the norm of can. 1700, the observations in favor of the bond are to be made in the same forum; the votum mentioned in §1, however, pertains to the entrusting bishop, to whom the instructor is to hand over a suitable report together with the acts.
Canon 1705. §1. The bishop is to transmit to the Apostolic See all the acts together with his votum and the observations of the defender of the bond.

§2. If supplemental instruction is required in the judgment of the Apostolic See, this requirement will be communicated to the bishop with an indication of the points on which the instruction must be completed.

§3. If the Apostolic See replies that non-consummation has not been established from the materials presented, then the legal expert mentioned in can. 1701, §2 can inspect the acts of the process, though not the votum of the bishop, at the tribunal to consider whether any grave reason can be brought forth in order to resubmit the petition.
Canon 1706. The Apostolic See transmits the rescript of the dispensation to the bishop who will notify the parties about the rescript and also as soon as possible will order the pastor both of the place where the marriage was contracted and of the place of baptism to note the granting of the dispensation in the marriage and baptismal registers.

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